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I have two 10-meter masts to support a 40-meter inverted L. I have a decent enough sized yard that I have a few options for counterpoise/ground/radial.

I could run 1/4 wave radials in several directions along the ground/just below the surface and feed the inverted L just a few feet off the ground, giving me a longer vertical section.

Another option I'm considering is feeding the inverted L at a height of about 10 feet, giving me a 20+ foot vertical section, along with elevated wires at about 10 feet to give me a handful of elevated radials.

Or, I could use a folded counterpoise, which, I admit, I am not very familiar with.

I've heard that a few elevated radials is a better, or at least as good an option as many ground radials, and that seems to be the easier option too, and so I'm leaning toward that option.

Thoughts? Thanks.

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    $\begingroup$ With a 10 meter mast, you have just about the right vertical height for a straight monopole, no inverted L required. And with two, you could alternately hang a dipole if you can get them far enough apart, and then you don't need any counterpoise at all. Why do you want an inverted L? $\endgroup$ – Phil Frost - W8II Feb 24 at 4:52
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    $\begingroup$ One consideration -- radials buried in the earth can be more effective on several ham bands than elevated radials that are not resonant in each of those bands. $\endgroup$ – Richard Fry Feb 24 at 11:38
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    $\begingroup$ @PhilFrost-W8II Good comment; however, there is some radiation from the horizontal portion which could be useful for local QSOs under some conditions. $\endgroup$ – Mike Waters Feb 24 at 19:21
  • $\begingroup$ @PhilFrost-W8II I'm hoping to have a good multiband antenna that will help with DX but some "local" QSOs as well. I bought an antenna much like an EFHW-4010 from a friend of mine and am hoping to get it work without having to bury a second cable for another antenna.. I like your idea of having a monopole and a dipole, but for now I just want to see if I can get this to work well. Just another experiment. $\endgroup$ – K8KV Feb 24 at 20:02
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Either elevated radials, or radials lying on the ground or buried just below the surface can work just fine. The difference usually comes down to what's more convenient to install.

I would not recommend a folded counterpoise, or any other kind of counterpoise which is not simply a straight wire unless you are constrained by space.

Elevated radials have the advantage of requiring fewer (as few as 2 can work pretty well) and being effective even if soil conductivity is extremely poor. They have the disadvantage of requiring something to support the ends, presenting a hazard to pedestrians or vehicles if they can't be mounted high enough, and they must be a quarter wavelength long to be effective, making them less desirable for multiband antennas. It's possible to have multiple sets of radials each tuned for a different band, but of course this negates some of the advantage.

Radials on the ground or buried have the advantage of not requiring any support structure, being out of the way and relatively protected from damage, and their length is not critical so they work for multiband antennas. However, at least 16 are typically required for good performance, and they require at least moderate soil conductivity so extremely rocky, dry areas may not perform well without a much higher number of radials.

You say you have two 10-meter masts for a 40-meter antenna. I'd like to point out these masts are probably tall enough for a straight, 1/4 wave monopole which will be more efficient than an inverted-L. If you can place the two masts a half-wavelength apart, you could also string a dipole between them and get good performance without any radials at all.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks. I'm going to go with buried radials for now. As I mentioned above I bought an antenna like an EFHW-4010 from a friend of mine and I want to see if I can get good multiband performance out of a single antenna. if this experiment doesn't work out, I'll probably switch to a monopole and a dipole as you suggest. $\endgroup$ – K8KV Feb 24 at 20:05
  • $\begingroup$ Follow up question: Insulated or bare ground radial wires? Thanks. $\endgroup$ – K8KV Mar 1 at 19:29
  • $\begingroup$ @K8KV Either works. Whatever's available. $\endgroup$ – Phil Frost - W8II Mar 1 at 20:53
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Here is another answer on this site about buried vs. elevated radials.

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  • $\begingroup$ Hi Rich, probably because you did not include relevant material from the link. Whenever a link is posted, we should always do that so that the answer stands by itself now and in the future. That way, if the linked page or document ever goes away, the answer is still valid. You should edit this answer and do this. $\endgroup$ – Mike Waters Feb 24 at 19:05
  • $\begingroup$ Ah! I see that this links to an answer here on hamSE. I've edited your answer to include that. $\endgroup$ – Mike Waters Feb 24 at 19:06
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    $\begingroup$ If an existing answer answers another question, that suggests the questions are duplicates and one should be marked as duplicate rather than answered. If they are different enough to not be duplicates, then an answer should explain in the specific context of the new question — which a link cannot do. $\endgroup$ – Kevin Reid AG6YO Feb 25 at 2:11

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